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Full text of "Corianton, a Nephite story"

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 
in 2010 witin funding from 
Brigiiam Young University 



http://www.arcliive.org/details/coriantonnepliite001902robe 











CORIANTON 

A N ephite Story 



BY B. H. ROBERTS 



PREFACE. 



COPYRIGHTBD BT 

B. H. ROBERTS 

1902 



-.1^ 



Corianton was first published as a ser- 
ial in the Contributor, 1889. At that 
time the story was well received by a 
large circle of readers and the Author 
was urged by many of his friends to 
continue in that line of composition, as 
much good might come of it. A call 
came to engage in other work, however, 
and the delightful field just entered had 
to be abandoned. During the years that 
have intervened since the first publica- 
tion of the story, many have inquired if 
Corianton would not appear in booklet 
form, to which the Author always replied 
in the affirmative, but without being able 
to say when the time of publication would 
come. Since the simple Nephite story, 
however, promises to become famous 
through Mr. O. U. Bean's dramatization 



Preface. 

of it, many — I may say very many — have 
expressed a desire of forming the ac- 
quaintance of Corianton as he first ap- 
peared; and hence the Author presents 
Corianton, the Nephite. 



CORIANTON. 



CHAPTER ONE. 



THE PRISONER. 



'^4 

The summer's sun was just strug- • fc*\^ 
gling through the mists that overhung 5 
the eastern horizon, and faintly gilding^ '£ 
the towers and housetops of Zar^Jhemla', ^9 
af, a party of seven horsemen, evidently 
v/eary with the night's travel, were seen 
slowly moving along the foot of the hill 
Manti, in the direction of the above 
named city. 

The manner in which the party 
traveled was evidently by pre-arrange- 
ment, and for a purpose. Two rode in 
advance and two in the rear, while the 
other three rode abreast, the one in the 



Corianton . 



middle being closely guarded by those 
who rode beside him. A second look 
showed that his arms were securely 
bound behind him, and the guard on 
each side held the powerful horse he 
rode by means of a strap of raw-hide 
fastened to the bridle. The prisoner was 
the most, in fact the only person of strik- 
ing appearance in the little cavalcade,the 
others being rather heavy, dull men of 
serious countenance ; the prisoner, how- 
ever, had an air of boldness and 
cool defiance which contrasted sharply 
with the humble aspect of his guards. 
He sat his horse with an easy grace 
which gave less evidence of fatigue from 
the long ride through the sultry night . 
than that exhibited by his guards; the 
man, indeed, seemed especially adapted 
for endurance. The head, too, was 
massive and the countenance striking; 
the brilliancy of the bold black eyes 
challenged contest or flashed back defi- 
ance, while the peculiar expression 
about the mouth, half scornful smile. 



The Prisoner. 7 

half sneer, seemed to breathe contempt 
for all things on which he looked. 

The party now came in full view of 
the city. "At last," with mocked solemn- 
ity, exclaimed he that was bound, 
"the soldiers of Christ and their pris- 
oner behold the holy city, where dwells 
the great prophet — even God's High 
Priest, who smites with the words of his 
mouth, and with the breath of his lips 
slays the wicked !" and the speaker 
laughed scornfully, but his guards made 
no reply. 

"Methinks ye soldiers of the king 
that is to be, give scant homage to a 
shrine so holy as this — why, think men, 
this is the abode of God's vicegerent, 
the headquarters of heaven on earth 
so to speak ! And yet ye move on in full 
view of this holy .shrine unbowed ! Down 
slaves, and worship the place of my 
sanctuary — so run the words of holy 
prophets, is it not so?" 

Still no answer. 

"Yet uncovered and unbowed? Ah, I 



8 



Corianton. 



forgot, you are from the land of Gideon, 
where dwells another of these holy 
prophets — and, it may be, that to wor- 
ship at this shrine would be treason to 
your own High Priest ! O, thou bright- 
eyed goddess of liberty, what distrac- 
tion, what fears must disturb the breasts 
of the poor, craven wretches who wor- 
ship aught but thee !" 

Further remarks of the scoffer were 
cut short by the guards in advance 
urging their horses into a brisk gallop, 
h.r. example followed by the rest of the 
party. The good broad road, down 
which they dashed, sloped gently from 
the -western base of the hill Manti to the 
gate in the east wall of the city. The 
road had been cut through a primeval 
forest, and the strips of woodland on 
either side of it, still untouched by the 
woodman's ax, made of it a grand 
avenue. Here and there to the right 
and left were lanes leading off to the 
fields beyond, toward which agricul- 
tural laborers were slowly moving to 



^ 



The Prisoner. 9 

begin the toil of the day. These 
turned to look with unconcealed wonder 
upon the strange party as it dashed 
past them, and some few turned back to 
the city, bent on finding out who the 
prisoner was and what was afoot. 

As the party drew rein near the gate, 
tv'o guards armed with heavy sworda 
and long spears, challenged their en- 
trance, and demanded their business. 

"Great God!" exclaimed the prisoner, 
"and this is the people who boast of 
their freedom ! This is the free city of 
Zarahemla! and yet here stands the 
minions of the High Priest and the Chief 
Judge to question whence ye come and 
why !" 

"We come from the city of Gideon," 
said one of the guards of the prisoner, 
in answer to the questions, "we have in 
charge Korihor, the anti-Christ, who 
seeks to destroy religion and subvert all 
government; we" — 

"Thou liest, almost as well as a high 
priest," broke in the prisoner; "I seek 



lO 



Corianton. 



but to root out of men's minds the false 
traditions of the fathers concerning God 
and Christ, and to make them free! I 
only"— 

"You will do well," quietly replied he 
whom he had interrupted, "to make your 
defense before the High Priest and Chief 
Judge of the city, and not before your 
own and the city guards." Then turning 
to the guards of the gate he continued: 
"We have brought Korihor from the 
city of Gideon where he was tried" — 

"For his virtues," broke in the pris- 
c>ner. 

— "for his offenses," continued the 
guard, not heeding the interruption 
"but the Chief Judge at Gideon hath 
sent him to the Chief Judge of the whole 
land in this city, to hear his case, and 
he"— j 

"And God's. High Priest," spoke up 
the prisoner, "I charge thee, guard, 
leave not out the holy prophet, I long to 
meet in sharp contest the vicegerent on 
earth of your Christ that is to be — 'ac- 
cording to the holy prophets.' " 



The Prisoner. 



II 



"Well, then, we seek the High Priest 
and Chief Judge before whom this man 
is to be tried," said the guard, evidently 
vexed with the mocking tone of the 
scoffei . 

"Pass on," said the guard at the gate: 
"Com," said he to his companion, "con- 
duct these men to the Judgment Hall, 
give their prisoner to the keeper of the 
prison, then direct them to the house 
of the chief judge ; I shall wait until you 
return; and I pray God that this bold 
man may be silenced, for before now he 
liath disturbed the quiet of our city not 
a little." 

As the party passed through the mas- 
sive gateway,Korihor turned to look back 
at the guard, and raising his voice, said 
to the crowd which had gathered there 
rather than to the onetvhom he addressed, 
"Guard, tell your good people as they 
pass in and out of the city, that Korihor. 
their friend, who would see them free, is 
in bonds for liberty's sake, and is soon 
to be tried before an imperious High 



12 



Corianton. 



Priest and a tyrant judge, for honest dis- 
belief in the foolish traditions of their 
fathers— tell them this, and ask them if 
the time has came when all men must be 
slaves to superstition !" There was an in- 
stant buzz of excitement in the crowd, for 
Korihor was not unknown in Zarahemla. 
A few months before he had been 
through that city and had spoken boldly 
against the prophets and the traditions 
respecting the coming and Atonement of 
Christ. Since then he had been travel- 
ing through the land of Jershon among 
the people of Ammon, there he met with 
little success; for that people bound him 
and banished him from their lands. From 
thence he went into the land of Gideon 
where he sought, as in other places, to 
stir up sedition. He was brought before 
the High Priest and Chief Judge of that 
city, and they being in doubt as to what 
they ought to do with him, bound him 
and sent him to the High Priest over the 
whole church, and to the Chief Judge of 
the whole land, both of whom resided in 
the city of Zarahemla. 



*m 



CHAPTER TWO. 



ZARAHEMLA. 



The city of Zarahemla which our 
party of horsemen and their prisoner 
had entered, was the capital and metrop- 
polis of the Nephite Republic. Its ex- 
act location cannot be definitely fixed. 
According to the Book of Mormon it 
was situated on the west bank of tho 
river Sidon, a noble stream, supposed to 
be identical with the river Magdalena. 
It rises in the great mountain chain of 
western South America, and flows di- 
rectly north through an immense val- 
ley to the sea. The city Zarahemla was 
originally founded by the descendants 
of a colony of Jews that escaped from 
Jerusalem, after the destruction of that 
city by King Nebuchadnezzar, early in 
the sixth century B. C. With the colony 
of Jews that escaped was Mulek, the son 
of King Zedekiah, and the colony took 
its name from him. They landed in the 

13 



M 



Corianton. 



Zarahemla. 



15 



northern continent of the western world 
and afterwards drifted southward into 
the valley of Sidon, and there founded a 
city, but what name they gave it is not 
known. Having brought no records with 
them from Jerusalem, and being in pos- 
session of none of those incentives to the 
preservation of civilization, it is not sur- 
prising that they deteriorated to semi- 
civilized and irreligious conditions. Seri- 
ous wars broke out among them at times, 
but they preserved themselves a people, 
and by the year 200 B. C, had become 
very numerous. It was about this 
time that their chief city was discov- 
ered by a migrating host of Nephites 
from the South, led* by Mosiah I, whom 
God had commanded to gather together 
the more righteous part of the people 
of Nephi and take them into the land 
northward. A double purpose was 
served in this movement: first, the 
righteous Nephites were relieved from 
the oppressions practiced upon them 
by their more vicious brethren; second, 



■S 



they carried enlightenment, and especial- 
ly the knowledge of God, to a numerous 
people. At the time of the arrival of 
the Nephites in the valley of the Sidon, 
one Zarahemla was the recognized lead- 
er of the descendants of the people of 
Mulek. It was a Nephite custom to 
name their cities after the men who 
founded them, and the surrounding 
country after the name of the chief city 
therein. In this instance the Nephites 
doubtless named the city after the chief 
man they found there, "Zarahemla," and 
the surrounding country "the land of Za- 
rahemla." But as suggested, this may not 
have been the name of the city previous 
to the advent of the Nephites. The two 
peoples readily united under the form of 
government known at that time among 
the Nephites, viz., a limited and at times 
elective monarchy. Mosiah, the Ne- 
phite leader, became king of the united 
people. He caused that the people of 
Zarahemla should be taught in the 
knowledge of their forefathers; and in 



i6 



Corianton. 



reverence for the God of Israel. Both 
peoples were greatly benefited by this 
union. The people of Zarahemla so 
strengthened the Nephites in numbers 
as to make them strong enough to resist 
i-ny attempted invasion of Lamanites; 
while to the people of Zarahemla the 
Nephites brought their civilization, their 
ideas of government, and enlightenment 
through means of education. 

At the time of the opening of our sto- 
ry, 75 B. C, something of a republican 
form of government or reign of Judges 
had supplanted the before mentioned 
monarchy. King Mosiah I. was suc- 
ceeded by his son Benjamin, and he by 
his son, under the title of Mosiah II. It 
was ■ the reign of the last mentioned 
king that the remarkable revolution took 
place which resulted in the establishment 
o/ the Nephite Republic in place of the 
kingly form of government which under 
various modifications had existed from 
the first Nephi, until about 91 B. C, or 
seme sixteen years previous to the events 



Zarahemla. 



%7 



■ 
i 



recorded in the preceding chapter. The 
revolution seems to have occurred at 
that time in consequence of the sons of 
the second Mosiah refusing to accept 
the kingly dignity. They had conse- 
crated their lives to the service of the 
Church, and had departed on missionary 
expeditions among the Lamanites. The 
good King Mosiah II. was fearful that 
if the people elected a king, as was their 
light under certain contingencies, his 
sons might subsequently seek to take 
possession of the throne they had ab- 
dicated, and thus bring on civil war. In 
his anxiety to avoid the possibility of so 
great a calamity he proposed a change 
in the constitution by which the kingly 
form of government should be abolished, 
and a species of republic established in 
its place. The principal feature of the 
new constitution was the provision for 
the election of a Chief Judge and sub- 
ordinate Judges, graded most likely 
according to the importance of the city 
or district of country over which their 



20 



Corianton. 



also of the republic. He did not hold 
the double office long, however; for find- 
ing that the office of Chief Judge so oc- 
cupied his time that it forced neglect 
upon his duties as High Priest, he re- 
signed his civil position after eight years 
of service, that he might devote himself 
exclusively to his ministerial calling. Ne- 
phihah was elected to the office of Chief 
Judge, and held that position at the open- 
ing of our story. By this action of Alma's 
the office of High Priest was separated 
from that of Chief Judge, still there ap- 
pears to have been some participation in 
the affairs of government by the High 
Priest. Not that there was a union of 
church and state as that term is usually 
understood, for the Church was recog- 
nized as being separated from the state; 
but while they were distinct societies, 
tliey were close neighbors, and nearly 
interested in one another; they lived 
separate, but not estranged; and each 
helped the other at need. And hence 
it happened that the High Priest at times 
sat with the Chief. Judge in cases in- 
volving the interests of the Church. 



CHAPTER THREE. 



THE BROTHERS. 

Meantime our party passed down 
one of the principal streets of the ancient 
city, into the market square. Here many 
were engaged in unpacking fruits and 
vegetables from huge baskets strapped 
scross the backs of asses, and arrang- 
ing them under awnings to preserve 
them from the scorching rays of the sun. 
In the richest profusion were piles of 
fruits and vegetables,luscious grapes and 
fragrant bananas, lemons, limes, figs, 
dates, bread-fruit and a variety of vege- 
tables such as the tropics alone can pro- 
duce. Purchasers were already throng- 
ing to the market, and as our party from 
the city of Gideon passed on, Korihor 
shouted to them, as he had done to the 
crowd at the gate, which resulted in 
quickly gathering a throng of men who 
eagerly questioned the guards as to the 
man's offense — "alleged offense, you 
mean," he cried, "for I am guilty of no 
21 



22 



Corianton. 



crime, except we have fallen on those 
evil days to which the idle traditions c£ 
our fathers tend, when to disbelieve the 
words of ancient dotards styling them- 
selves prophets, and giving expression to 
one's honest thoughts has become a 
crime; or when resisting the oppression 
of judges, who ever have one ear turn-c 
to a priest to learn what superstition 
teaches is the word of God, be a wrong ; 
and when to be the friend of liberty, a 
foe to tyranny whether in priest or judge 
— and an enemy to an enslaving supersti- 
tion, is considered worthy of bonds and 
the prison." 

This and much more that he said as 
he passed along, surrounded by his 
guards, produced no little excitement i;i 
the crowd, for in those ancient days and 
distant climes, as well as in our own 
day those who persuaded men they were 
not well governed had many willing 
followers ; and then as now demagogae.s , 
blasphemers and the enemies of law and 
order knew what a tower of strength 



The Brothers. 



23 



the cry of freedom gave to a cause, how- 
ever unworthy or destructive of the very 
thing in the interest of which, ostensibly, 
they worked. 

Having passed through the market- 
square and through a narrow, irregular 
street, with massive, two-story stone 
houses on either side, which marked the 
n)OSt ancient part of the city, the guards 
suddenly turned to the right into a large 
square, on one side of which stood an 
immense structure of hewn stone with a 
wide, high porch, supported by massive 
pillars, and approached by a broad flight 
of stone steps. This was the Hall of 
Justice, as indicated in an inscription 
carved in the stone above the porch. To 
the right of the building extended a high 
stone wall in which was hung a heavy 
wooden door, plentifully studded with 
iron spikes. To this door the guard 
who had led the party from the east gate 
of the city directed his footsteps, and 
taking a small wooden mallet suspended 
by a chain fastened to the door post, he 



24 



Corianton. 



struck the door three smart blows, and 
a moment later a small wicket in the 
upper part of the door was opened and 
a harsh voice demanded what was 
wanted. 

"A guard of horsemen from the city 
of Gideon bring with them to the judg- 
ment seat of the High Priest and Chief 
Judge, one Korihor, charged with seek- 
ing to breed sedition and subvert the 
government; they deliver him to the 
care of the keeper of the prison — open 
the door and admit him at once — the 
people are becoming excited and may 
raise a tumult." The latter clause of the 
sentence was delivered hurriedly and in 
ar/ undertone. There was a profuse 
rattling of chains, the falling of an iron 
bar, and the door swung open with a 
grating sound. Meantime the guards of 
Korihor had assisted him to dismount 
and with their prisoner before them, and 
leading their horses, passed into the 
prison-yard. A number of men pressed 
close after them, but were denied admit- 



The Brothers. 



25 



tr.nce by the gate keeper, who drove 
them back and closed and barred the 
door. 

Seeing Korihor safely bestowed, and 
their horses cared for, the guards from 
Gideon were conducted across the square 
fronting the Hall of Justice, to the house 
of the Chief Judge, and presented to him 
the communication or commitment from 
the High Priest and Chief Judge of 
Gideon. 

The crowd which had been attracted 
b}- the unusual spectacle of the small 
cavalcade passing through their streets, 
and the animated speeches of the pris- 
oner, still lingered in the public square, 
gathered in groups, discussing the events 
of the morning. "I tell you," said ? 
hard visaged man to a group of listeners 
standing near the center of the square, — 
''I tell you there is too much truth in the 
complaints of Korihor. The High Priests 
and the Chief Judges are becoming too 
arbitrary in their rulings; there's too 
much said about law and order and not 



26 



Corianton. 



enough regard paid to personal liberty." 
"Tut, man," said a voice from the 
outskirts of the group, "whenever has 
a disturber of the peace, a blasphemer 
of God, an enemy to religion come 
amongst us but what he has taken refuge 
behind the cry of "liberty?" So did 
Nehor in the first year of the reign of 
the judges; so did Amlici five years 
later; and Korihor is such as they were, 
and with like cunning adopts their cry of 
"liberty," when in reality his principles 
lead to the destruction of freedom and 
all its safeguards. Believe me friends," 
he continued, addressing the crowd 
among whom there began to be great 
agitation — "Believe me, not every one 
that cries out against God, religion 
rnd the law is a friend to freedom, they 
aie always its enemies. The law stands 
watch and guard over your rights and 
liberties; by that Korihor will be judged 
and justice rendered. In the meantime 
let not your minds be carried away by 
the persuasions of men whose business is 



The Brothers. 



27 



pgitation, who prosper by violence, and 
thrive on tumults." So saying, the young 
man, for such he was, putting his arm 
about a still younger man who stood at 
his side, walked away. The crowd also 
A^ began to break up, the man who had 

been harangueing it when interrupted, 
muttering that it could only be expected 
that the sons of the High Priest would 
defend the oppressions of their father; 
they themselves were interested. 

As the two young men were crossing 
the square, the younger said to his 
brother: "Notwithstanding what you 
si'id just now to the crowd, Shiblon, and 
ihe truth of it in general, I think this 
treatment of Korihor is too harsh. Our 
law protects a man in his belief and in 
the expression of it; and though Korihor 
hath a proud bearing and holds what 
you believe to be dangerous views, still 
I think the officers at Gideon exceeded 
their jurisdiction in sending him bound 
to this city." 

"Holds what I believe to be dangei- 
cus views ! And do not vou believe them 



28 



Corianton. 



i 



The Brothers. 



to be dangerous? Corianton, I fear the 
spirit of unbelief, the moral and spiritual 
poison that the orations of this same man 
mfused into your soul when he first ap- 
peared in our city, hath not yet been 
worked out." The hot blood rushed to 
the temples of Corianton at this accusa- 
tion, and he replied with some warmth, 
not unmixed with bitterness : "It has 
not been the fault of brother Helaman 
or yourself, then, for I have heard little 
else since his departure from Zarahemla 
but your lame arguments in support of 
the shadowy traditions of our fathers 
about the coming of Messiah and his 
Atonement." 

"I am sorry to find you in this mood 
my brother," replied Shiblon, "and it 
grieves me to hear you speak so lightly 
of things that are sacred; but if too 
much restraint has been thrown upon the 
liberty of Korihor by the authorities of 
Gideon, you know full well that justice 
will be done him in the court of our 
father and the Chief Judge— you know 



29 



; 



that no oppression is countenanced by 
them." 

At this moment the guard from the 
gate who had conducted those in charge 
of Korihor to the presence of the Chief 
Judge passed them, and in answer to a 
question from Corianton replied that the 
case of Korihor was appointed to be 
heard on the morrow^. 

"It is the time of day," said Shiblon 
to his brother, "appointed for the meet- 
ing of the priesthood, to consider the 
mission about to be appointed to the 
Zoramites. Our father sent me to find 
you and bring you to the council, for I 
think he wishes you to be a party to 
the undertaking." 

"You may go, brother, but I will not," 
replied Corianton. "I have no relish for 
these dull councils, and as for converting 
the Zoramites, they may be as nearly 
right in their theology as yourself or our 
father, for aught I know ; the whole sub- 
ject is so wrapt in mystery that we can 
at least afford to be liberal, and not bind 



30 



Corianton. 



men and thrust them into prison for dar 
ing to assert their unbelief in these mys 
terious things." 

"But it is the express wish of father 
that you should attend this council," 
said Shiblon, "out of respect for him, 
will you not come?" 

'Say, to our good father the Priest, 
that I am gone to visit one who is cast 
into prison for the cause of liberty." 
Then seeing the pained expression in 
his brother's face, his manner changed, 
and placing his hand affectionately on 
his shoulder he said: "Shiblon, go thou 
to the council, and give no further 
thought to me ; let me follow the bent o.f 
my own mind. Your steady patience; 
vour deep conviction as to the truth of 
the traditions of our fathers: your wis- 
dom and goodness make you a fitting 
minister for God, if such a being there 
is; you are destined to become a pillar in 
the church; not so with me; my wild 
love of liberty can ill brook the restraints 
of the gospel or the priesthood, and the 



The Brothers. 



31 



skepticism ingrained in my very nature 
disqualifies me for the work I could 
readily believe you were designed to 
support. But I'll none of it, until I see 
some manifestation of the power of God 
spoken of so frequently by our father 
and of which the scriptures speak on 
nearly every page; so farewell." Turn- 
ing on his heel, he bent his footsteps in 
the direction of the prison gate, while 
Shiblon with a troubled heart stood 
gazing after him. 

"David had his Absalom, Lehi, his 
I.aman, and this my brother, my father's 
darling son, seems destined to wring my 
father's heart, as they did theirs. Oh ! 
why is it, that those formed in the very 
prodigality of nature — endowed with a 
heaven-born intelligence — genius — must 
be cursed with a dclubting, rebellious 
spirit that weighs down all their better 
parts, and wrecks the hopes, built on 
what their talents promise? Oh, that 
some good angel would my brother 
meet, as was my father met, shake off his 



32 



Corianton. 



doubting fears, and give him back to 
us converted to the truth and pledged to 
its maintenance, as was my father ! Then 
how would shine that master power 
within him which overawes men's minds 
or bends them to his purpose! Brother, 
flout me, resist me how you will; I'll 
follow you through all your fortunes^ 
good or ill, and win you yet to God and 
truth 1" 

With these words on his lips, and this 
pious purpose in his heart, Shiblon, the 
son of Alma the Priest, directed his 
steps to the council chamber. 



CHAPTER FOUR, 

IN THE HALL OF JUSTICE. 

The next morning the sun shone 
more brightly than on the day before. /^ 
Through the night a terrific storm had 
taged. Black clouds burdened with 
moisture had been split by vivid flashes 
of lightning, and poured down all their 
floods. But with the approach of light 
the storm ceased, the clouds parted and 
drifted into great cumulous heaps light- 
ened to snowy whiteness by the glorious 
morning sun. The air was fresh and 
pure, the electric storm having dispelled 
the mists and fogs so common to the 
tropics. 

Long before the sun had reached mid- 
way between his rising and high noon, 
the open square before the Hall of Jus- 
tice was filled with groups of men, some 
boisterously disputing the rightfulness 
of Korihor's treatment, and others with 
equal warmth defending the action of 
the authorities of Gideon. 
33 



34 



Corianton. 



The Hall of Justice was crowded to 
overflowing with men anxious to see 
and hear the man, who had by a few 
leaps and bounds sprung into notoriety. 
The hall within was circular in form, 
v/ith tiers of stone seats rising one 
above the other, their regularity broken 
only by three promenades extending 
three-fourths of the way around the 
building. The entrance was through 
two wide double doors in the south, 
along a walk leading into a circular 
space, around which ranged the first row 
of seats, and from which ran flights of 
steps leading to the seats and prome- 
nades above. On the west side was a 
spacious platform with two seats well to 
the back of it, raised on a dais, evidently 
intended for the high officials of the 
state. 

A murmur that commenced near the 
entrance and then extended to all parts 
oi the house, gave notice that some one 
of importance — perhaps some of the 



In the Hall of Justice, 35 

chief actors in what was to take place 
that day— were entering. Two men 
v.-alking side by side and preceded by 
two guards and followed by two, passed 
up the short flight of steps to the plat- 
form, and occupied the seats before 
mentioned. One of them was still in 
the prime of manhood, with a full beard 
and glossy black hair. The eyes were 
deep set and black, the forehead low and 
broad, the lower part of the face square 
and heavy. The stature of the man 
was in keeping with the face ; below the 
common height, broad shouldered and 
ungraceful, the whole aspect was stern, 
almost harsh— such was Nephihah, the 
Chief Judge of the whole land. His 
companion, the High Priest, was a 
different type of man; tall in person, 
slightly stooped with age, a high reced- 
ing forehead, and hair of silvery white- 
ness. In that face one could see com- 
passion, patience, tenderness— all the 
qualities in fact that go to make up the 
highly spiritual temperament. But, as 



36 



Corianton. 



one may say, back of the indications of 
those qualities stood others of sterner 
character. The closely compressed lips, 
together with the whole form and move- 
ment was expressive of determination; 
while the light that flashed from the eyes 
when animated, bespoke a quick spirit 
within. But now as he takes his seat 
by the side of the Chief Judge, his whole 
air is calmness, almost sadness; and in- 
deed, care had drawn many and deep 
lines in the noble face of Alma. 

Neither of these officers, though the 
foremost men in the great Nephite Re- 
public, wore any badge of office ; but 
was dressed very similar to hundreds 
of common people in the hall. The 
dress consisted of a sort of tunic drawn 
over a close fitting under garment, gath- 
ered in at the waist by a girdle and ex- 
tending to the knees, but leaving the 
arms and legs bare. Over the tunic was 
generally thrown a light robe, very often 
ot rich material and varying in color to 
suit the taste of the wearer; on the feet 



In the Hall of Justice. 37 

sandals were worn, fastened to the feet 
and legs by broad thongs of tanned deer 
hide — such was the male dress of that 
period among the Nephites. The chief 
judge's tunic was of light brown, with a 
dull red robe thrown over the shoulders. 
The tunic of the high priest was white 
and his robe a light blue gathered in 
graceful folds about his person. 

At a signal from the Chief Judge one 
of the guards left the hall and soon re- 
turned, conducting to the platform Kori- 
hor and the guards who brought him 
from Gideon, a few others following — 
friends of the accused. Among the lat- 
ter there was one whose graceful form 
towered above the rest, whose step was 
more firm, and whose every limb and 
feature and movement seemed conscious 
of power and pride. As he followed 
Korihor up the steps to the platform and 
stood near him, the High Priest started 
from his scat — there was a convulsive 
twitching of the fine features, and then 
the tears stole silently down his furrowed 



38 Corianton. 

cheeks. He had recognized his son 
Corianton, as the follower of this un- 
believer. He was aware that his son 
had called upon him the day before,knew 
that he had expressed some sympathy 
for him, but he was not prepared to see 
him thus openly identify himself with the 
cause of the scoffer against God. 

As Korihor took his place before the 
Chief Judge the latter unrolled a parch- 
ment which contained the charges 
against him, as set forth by the authori- 
ties of Gideon. 

"Korihor," said he, the voice was 
strong and harsh, "you are charged, by 
the authorities of the land of Gideon 
with having sought to stir up sedition, 
disrupt the government and destroy re- 
ligion. It doth not appear, however, that 
you have set on foot any definite move- 
ment, or organization looking to the ac- 
complishment of these unworthy pur- 
poses. It cannot be said you are guilty 
of any overt act in pursuance of your 
pernicious doctrines, but have merely 



In the Hall of Justice. 39 

agitated for them by your speeches. 
Our law cannot punish a man for 
his belief nor for the expression of it, 
therefore it is our decision that you be 
set at liberty. However, it becomes my 
duty to caution you that the path you 
tread is filled with danger, both to your- 
self and those you may induce to follow 
you. Let me remind you that our present 
system of government has been most 
fruitful of happiness to the people, and 
holds out to them the fairest promise of 
future good ; and he who becomes its 
enemy, becomes the enemy of the peo- 
ple, and in the end must come to sorrow. 
Let not. therefore, your love of notorie- 
ty, or any other motive, betray you into 
seeking it, by paths so pregnant with 
dnnger to yourself should you fail, and 
so disastrous to the public weal should 
you succeed. You are acquitted before 
the law of the land ; but the High Priest 
may have some advice for you." 

"Acquitted by the law of the land — 
now I suppose I am to be tried by the 



^Q Corianton. 

Ij,,,. of— heaven!" said Korihor. "Well, 
we've heard from earth, now we are 
ready to hear from heaven— what a pity 
^le other place," pointing significantly 
downward, "is not also represented, we 
would then have a trinity of you to hear 
from. Proceed heaven !" said he, turn- 
ing to the High Priest. 

"Korihor," said the High Priest, "your 
speech ill becomes your intelligence, 

your" — 

"What, has a priest turned flatterer, 
can a priest speak to an opponent in fair, 
well-seeming words? You know well to 
whom vou speak-one who will not 
kneel in the dust before you-one who 
feirs neither you nor your gods, but 
whose soul abhors you both, and is free 
from your superstition and the slavish 
submision it begets, else we should 
have had thunder from 'God's mouth- 
piece,' and not the melUauous tones 
breathing softly-'Korihor, your speech 
ill becomes your intelligence;' but go on, 



r 



S» 



In the Hall of Justice. 41 

speak as is your wont, I despise your 
flattery as I defy your power." 

"Think not I meant to flatter," con- 
tinued the High Priest, unmoved by the 
rude interruption, "for I meant to say. 
had you listened patiently, that your 
utterances are but the vain repetition of 
what others of like temperment have 
said before you. You scarcely do more 
that repeat, parrot-like, the catch 
phrases of Nehor and Amlici, your im- 
n:ediate predecessors in this ribaldry of 
blasphemy." 

This was a conclusion of the sentence 
Korihor had scarcely expected, and the 
scoffer felt that his impetuosity had 
placed him at a disadvantage. 

"Why do you go about to destroy the 
people's belief in God and their hope in 
Christ?" continued the High Priest. 

"To undeceive them, to free them 
from a groveling superstition, which 
bows down their souls that they dare 
not assert their rights and liberties, nor 



42 



Corianton. 



raise their heads in manly pride, nor 
gratify their appetites, lest they offend 
the God of your tradition — a being who 
never has been seen or known, nor ever 
will be. I seek to strike off the servile 
chains, with which your priests have 
loaded them, in order to bring to pass 
your own designs — that you may glut 
yourselves with the labors of their hands, 
and hold them at your mercy. I would 
see men free from superstition, acknowl- 
edging no power more potent than their 
own, I would teach them that intelli- 
g-^ent management is providence, that 
genius is God; that this life— so far as 
we know — terminates existence, and 
therefore they should encompass all the 
pleasure possible, by enjoying what 
the appetites and passions crave. I tell 
thee, proud priest, now playing at hu- 
mility,'' he exclaimed with sudden ve- 
hemence, '"your religion is slavery;, your 
priesthood, a fraud; your Christ, a de- 
lusion: your God, a lie!" 

The great audience grew breathless at 



In the Hall of Justice. 43 

the fierce denunciation, and then the 
calm but strong voice of the High Priest 
rang through the hall — "Could a decep- 
tion, a lie produce such supreme joy in 
the hearts of men as the faith of this 
people in God does?" 

"Yea it could, and the proof of it is in 
that it does; but the joy this people 
think they have is not joy; man never 
tastes joy until he breaks away from all 
restraint, and feels himself accountable 
to no one for his actions, then and then 
only is he capable of joy." 

" 'Tis a lying spirit prompts thee so to 
answer," replied Alma, "for never while 
sense and judgment keep their seat in the 
mind of man can he cast off restraint, or 
become dead to the sense of moral re- 
sjjonsibility ; therefore what you would 
call joy would be the wild delirium of 
the madman or the drunken — long may 
this people be preserved from such ioy 
as this — its spirit is drawn from hell, its 
effect is destruction. Equally false is 
your statement that the priests glut them- 



44 Corianton. 

selves on the labors of the people. From 
the commencement of the reign of the 
judges, seventeen years since, until now, 
I have labored with my own hands for 
my support; and notwithstanding all my 
travels for the Church, and labors in it, 
I have never received even one senine 
for my labors, nor have my brethren, save 
it were in the judgment seat; and then 
we have received only according to the 
law for our time. What doth it profit us 
to labor in the Church, then, but to de- 
clare the truth, that we might have hap- 
piness in the prosperity of our people?" 

The scoffer was silent at the calmness 
of the high priest ; something in the 
manner of Alma moved him strangely , 
but he stared boldly in the face of the 
speaker. Corianton, however, mani- 
fested more uneasiness, for under the 
calm exterior he saw the spirit in his 
father awakening. 

"Korihor," said the High Priest, and 
there was an intensity in the voice now 
which thrilled the whole assembly, "yo" 



In the Hall of Justice. 45 

rrock at religion, you deny the existence 
ot God, but I testify to you there is a 
God, and now will you deny his ex- 
istence or blaspheme his name?" 

"Yea, that I will ! What, thinkest thou 
because a High Priest says in solemn 
tones, 'I tell thee, Korihor, there is a 
God,' that I will crouch at his feet and 
confess what ye would call my sins, and 
like an echo say "amen" to your testi- 
mony ? By the gods, if such there be, you 
must think my spirit easily over-awed ! I 
tell thee no, there is no God — ye have no 
evidence that there is — give me proof of 
his existence — let me see a manifestation 
of his power — show me a sign !" 

"All things testify of his existence. 
The traditions of our fathers affirm it" — 

"The traditions of our fathers!" con- 
temptuously broke in Korihor, "I de- 
mand a living sign, and you talk to me 
of tradition!" 

— "The written testimony of many of 
the prophets from the beginning of the 
world to the time our fathers left Jeru- 



i^ 



46 



Corianton. 



salem, as recorded upon the brass plates 
they brought with them into this land, 
prove his existence ; the testimony 
of all the holy prophets that God hath 
laised up to minister to this people de- 
clare it; and back of these witnesses 
stands all nature — the earth with its 
wealth of fruits and flowers and vegeta- 
tion and animal life; the rains which 
make it fruitful, the glorious sun, which 
kisses its fruits and grains to ripeness; 
day and night, seed-time and harvest — all 
pioclaim the Creator and his goodness 
and wisdom and love ! The existence 
and harmonious movement through 
space of many other worlds than ours 
i:i such exact order and regularity, pro- 
claim his power and glory; and more 
than all, the still small voice of the 
Spirit of God, testifying to the secret 
soul of man of the being of God and 
man's accountability to him — all these 
things united give ample proof of God's 
existence and power and majesty. Yet 
there stands a man," and he pointed his 



In the Hall of Justice. 47 

finger at Korihor, and addressed himself 
to the audience, "who denies there is any 
proof; turns from all this and impiously 
demands a sign !" 

The scoffer stood awed before the 
awful form of the priest ; and well indeed 
he might, for he had risen in delivering 
the above; his face shone with intelli- 
gence, his eyes reflected the light of 
heaven, his voice trembled with the 
power of God; and the form drawn up to 
its fall height was magnificently grand. 

"I — I do not say — there is — no God," 
faltered Korihor in subdued, husky tones, 
and trembling from fear — "I do not 
believe there is, — I will not believe" — 
recovering some of his boldness — "ex- 
cept ye show me a sign !" 

"Then this shall be thy sign — I tell 
thee, in the name of God, thou shalt be /, 
dumb and never speak again !" 

The voice was trumpet toned now, and 
seemed to shake the building and the 
whole audience had started to its feet. 
There was a half stifled exclamation from 



4^ Corianton. 

the scoffer, and he wildly clutched the 
air; his eyes seemed bursting from their 
sockets and his face was purple with 
his effort to speak. Those who had stood 
with him drew back as if by instinct, and 
he stood alone writhing under his curse. 
Exhausted at last by violent contortions 
of his whole frame, he became more 
calm ; and in answer to the question by 
the Chief Judge — 

"Art thou now convinced of the ex- 
istence of God?" 

He wrote an answer, saying that he 
was; that he knew there was a God, but 
the devil had deceived him by appearing 
to him as an angel of light, that he had 
taught his words because they were 
pleasing to the carnal mind, and his suc- 
cess made him believe, finally, that they 
were true. He pleaded piteously that 
the High Priest would remove the curse , 
but Alma replied : 

"If this curse should be taken from 
thee, thou wouldst again lead away the 



In the Hall of Justice. 49 

hearts of this people; therefore it shall 
be unto thee, even as the Lord will." 

Korihor looked around him, but no one 
gave him recognition as a friend ; those 
who had accompanied him into the hall 
stood terror stricken, and amazement 
vvas depicted in every countenance. He 
realized that he was deserted in this his 
extremity, and with a gurgling cry he 
fled from the hall and the city. 

The vast audience which had breath- 
lessly witnessed this remarkable scene 
and the demonstration of the power of 
God, began to break up, and quietly 
leave the hall, each person too deeply im- 
pressed with what he had witnessed to 
speak to his neighbor. The Chief Judge 
and the High Priest were among the last 
to depart. As the latter was approaching 
the door his robe was clutched, and 
turning round he stood face to face with 
his wayward son — Corianton. 



I 



i 



CHAPTER FIVE. 

THE NEW CONVERT. 

For a moment father and son faced 
each other, but neither spoke. The 
proud head of Corianton was bowed, his 
lips quivered with emotion. The father 
held out his hand, and the young man 
grasped it. "Father," he said, in hum- 
bled tone, "I have sinned against God, 
and against thee; I pray you pardon me, 
and ask thy God to pardon me, too." 

"Corianton, thy rebellion against God 
is in truth a grievoiis sin. But youth is 
thoughtless and wayward, impatient of 
restraint, easily misled, and often, too, 
by generous impulses. The high sound- 
ing phrase, the reckless plea for unbrid- 
led license, miscalled liberty, of which 
men of Korihor's type well know the in- 
fluence, the mocking jests at sober, right- 
eous lives, the boldness which dares 
mock at sacred things, and bid defiance 
even to God, hath in it a false daring 
which captures inconsiderate youth, and 



The New Convert. 



51 



works its ruin. I do remember my own 
youth, Corianton, and how in my mad 
folly I threw away restraint, consorted 
with the wicked, mocked the righteous, 
and impiously blasphemed the name of 
God, and afflicted my noble father's soul 
as thou hast mine— but I forgive thee," 
hastily added the Priest, as a great sob 
escaped his son, "as he did me; and so 
far as my earnest prayer can pluck down 
God's forgiveness on thy head, be as- 
sured, my son, my most dear son, God 
shall forgive thee,too." With these words 
ho fondly embraced Corianton, and a few 
moments later they left the Hall of Jus- 
tice together. 

At the house of the High Priest they 
found Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Him- 
ni, and also Helaman and Shiblon, the 
two elder sons of Alma. The first four 
persons named were the sons of Mosiah , 
the last king of the Nephites, at whose 
death the reign of the judges began. 
These men had been the companions of 
Alma from his boyhood, and together in 
their youthful days they had been reck- 



52 



Corianton. 



lessly wicked and sought the destruction 
of the Church, as already detailed in 
chapter two. After their conversion 
they had traveled to and fro through all 
the land of the Nephites, seeking to undo 
the mischief they had done; and then 
performed glorious missions among the 
Lamanites where the power of God had 
been wondrously manifested to the con- 
verting of many of that people to the 
truth. Often separated in their labors, 
cast into prisons, surrounded by dangers, 
threatened by mobs, weary, foot-sore, 
hungry — now received into palaces and 
hailed almost as Gods, now outcasts,with- 
out a place to lay their heads — they ex- 
perienced all the changes, the successes, 
and the vicissitudes of missionary life, 
but through all of it they were faithful to 
God, and held each other in fondest re- 
membrance. 

The present occasion of their meeting 
together was to determine what steps 
should be taken in relation to the Zo- 
ramites, a people who had dissented from 
the Nephites and had established them- 



The New Convert. 



53 



selves at Antionum, south of the land 
Gcrshon, and bordering on the lands 
occupied by the Lamanites; and it was 
feared they would become confederate 
with the Lamanites and create trouble. 
The meeting held on the subject the day 
before had been interrupted by the Chief 
Judge sending for Alma to consult over 
the case of Korihor. Now they had 
met to conclude the business thus inter- 
rupted. 

Alma was warmly greeted by his 
brethren, who had witnessed the scene 
in the HaXof Justice; and all expressed 
their gratitude to God for the great 
manifestation of his power, and the 
vindication of his cause. 

"The most happy fruit of this issue," 
said Alma, "is that it gives back to 
us my son Corianton ; who, at first, stood 
v/ith the unbeliever, but now has seen a 
demonstration of God's power, to the 
conversion of his soul." At this an- 
nouncement the brethren gathered about 
Corianton and warmly embraced him, 



<. 



54 



Corianton. 



thanking God for his deliverance from 
darkness. 

It was finally arranged that Alma , 
Ammon, Aaron, Omner together with 
Shiblon and Corianton, should go on a 
mission to the Zoramites; that Himni 
should remain to preside over the church 
at Zarahemla, assisted by Helaman. 

As the council was breaking up, Alma 
suggested that he would like to take with 
him on this mission Amulek and Zeez- 
lom, but they were in the city of Melek, 
west of Zarahemla. Corianton volun- 
teered to go after them, and Shiblon ex- 
pressed a willingness to accompany him. 
That afternoon they started. 

En route they passed through several 
villages, and on such occasions were 
everywhere questioned in relation to the 
curse which had fallen upon Korihor, of 
which they had heard conflicting rumors. 
The young men gave to those inquiring 
correct information, though Corianton in 
testifying to the existence of God, and to 
the truth, was not always as humble or 
merciful to those who were not yet con- 



The New Convert. 



55 



verted as was conformable to the spirit of 
the gospel, or consistent with the posi- 
tion which he himself had so lately occu- 
pied. It is ever thus with your new con- 
vert; by his actions and by his words you 
would be led to think, if you did not 
know better, that he was the last sinner 
God was waiting to bring into his fold 
before he damned the rest. Shiblon ob- 
served these faults in his brother, but 
knowing his haughty spirit, which could 
ill brook restraint, he resolved to re- 
main silent, and let those older correct 
him. 

Finding Amulek and Zeezrom, they 
delivered their message from the coun- 
cil of the priesthood in Zarahemla, and 
both these worthy men returned with 
them to that city, and from thence the 
party took its journey to Antionum, the 
chief city of the Zoramites. 

Of that journey it is necessary to say 
but little. It occupied eight days, the 
party going on foot, driving with them 
but two asses, on which were packed the 
tents, food and other necessary articles 



S6 



Corianton. 



for the comfort of the party. For the 
sons of Mosiah and Alma, who were all 
experienced missionaries. and had 
passed through many trying scenes to- 
gether, as also, indeed, had Amulek 
and Zeezroni, it was a glorious reunion; 
and many and various were the advent- 
ures and special manifestations of the 
power of God related. To the younger 
men, Shiblon and Corianton, it was a 
feast of spiritual food — the conversation 
of these servants of God. 



CHAPTER SIX. 

THE ZORAMITES. 

The sun was slowly sinking in the 
western sky, as the party of missionaries 
presented themselves at the main en- 
trance to the city .Antionum, the gateway 
ci the north wall. They were permitted 
to pass in unchallenged, and inquired out 
a lodging house, where they all stayed 
together. Uninformed as to the exact 
nature of the heresy of the Zoramites, 
they had resolved to avoid proclaiming 
their mission, until they should become 
acquainted with the nature of the errors 
it was their hope to correct. 

The day following their entrance into 
the city was the holy day of the Zoram- 
ites, when they repaired to the syna- 
gogues, of which there were many, to 
worship. The interior of their places of 
worship was gorgeously decorated. 
Near the center of each rose a stand, the 
top of which extended half the height 
from the floor to the ceiling. The stand 

57 



58 



Corianton. 



proper rested on a sort of frustum of a 
cone. Up the sides were several flights 
of steps, and at the top of the frustum 
was standing room for a number of peo- 
ple; but in the stand proper there was 
room for but one. Each in his turn as- 
cended the single flight of steps to the 
top of this holy stand — Rameumptom 
they called it — and stretching forth his 
hands towards heaven, exclaimed in sol- 
emn tones: 

Holy. Holy, Holy God ! 
Thou art God, There is no God be- 
side. 
Spirit Bright, and Everlasting — 
The same to-day and ever more. 
Separate are we from men — 
Elected us hast Thou and made us holy, 
While all beside thou hast condemned; 
Eor which, Most High, and Holy God 

we give Thee thanks — 
That we are not as other men. 
Separated are we from false traditions of 

the Christ — 
That deep blasphemy of corrupted Ne- 
phites. 



The Zoramites. 



59 



Who know not Thee as Spirit-God: 
But as a man expect to see Thee 
Come on earth, and all mankind re- 
deemed ! 
For deliverance from such traditions vile 
Most High and Holy God — I give Thee 

thanks I 

Amen, amen, amen! 

At the conclusion of every distinct 
thought in the above prayer, the com- 
pany of worshippers at the top of the 
frustum would cry aloud — "Amen, 
amen!" And at the conclusion of the 
prayer an unseen choir accompanied by 
instruments, chanted selected and slight- 
ly altered passages of the above prayer 
such as — 

"Holy, holy God! Thou art God. 
Thou are holy. Thou are spirit, and 
ever shall be — Holy is thy name ! Amen ! 
amen !" 

Such was their form of worship, such 
their set prayers, as witnessed that day 
by Alma and his fellow missionaries. 

After witnessing this mixture of im- 



6o 



Corianton. 



piety and hypocrisy, self-glorification, 
and abasement of those not of them. Al- 
ma thought it not necessary to wait 
longer in commencing the work, and 
hence, that night he laid hands upon the 
heads of his associates, blessed them and 
set them apart for the accomplishment of 
the work in hand. The next morning 
they separated for the better prosecution 
of their enterprise. They took no thought 
of themselves, what they should eat, or 
where they should be lodged. They 
preached in the synagogues, in private 
houses, and even in the streets. 

No one in the beginning of this work 
was more zealous, or more successful 
than Corianton. Indeed it was his suc- 
cess that began to work a great mischief; 
for it filled him with pride and boasting 
in his own strength. By the force of his 
brilliancy, and a kind of genius for con- 
troversy, he discomfited the Zoramites, 
and exposed the shallowness of their 
principles to the great delight of the 
multitude who, though they believed 
not the message he was delivering, 



The Zoramites. 



6i 



were immensely pleased with the youth- 
ful orator. 

There were fundamental truths of 
the gospel, however, to which Corianton 
himself was not converted ; the atone- 
ment of Christ, the resurrection, 
the justice of God in punishing the 
wicked, being among them. He found, 
as many since his day have found, that 
seeing a single manifestation of the 
power of God — a miracle — had not re- 
moved all the difficulties in the way of a 
sound faith in the gospel ; and in his own 
mind he began to find ways of account- 
ing for the destruction of Korihor's 
speech — his own excitement, the mys- 
terious magnetism of his father which 
swayed men's minds, a power which he 
flattered himself he had inherited, not- 
withstanding his unbelief. 

One day about sunset, while in this 
frame of mind, as he was passing down 
one of the main thoroughfares of Anti- 
onum, he saw a poor, wretched object 
begging of those who passed him on the 
street. He was miserably clad and filthy. 



62 



Corianton. 



his form emaciated and trembling with 
weakness, but there was something in the 
profile of the face, a resemblance to 
a countenance which lived in Corianton's 
recollection, that attracted his attention. 
As he approached nearer he observed a 
wildness about the man, occasioned by 
desperate efforts at speech, resulting 
only in harsh, disconnected and unin- 
telligible mumbling. To his astonish- 
ment, it was Korihor. The form was 
wasted, the features shrunken almost 
past recognition, and insanity glared from 
his wild eyes. Corianton gazed in 
pity upon him, and Korihor returned 
that look with one of puzzled wonder. 
Then as the mists and confusion of his 
mind cleared up for the moment, he rec- 
ognized his former, and what he ac- 
counted his false friend, and with a wild 
shriek fled out into the street, looking 
back at Corianton as he ran with an air 
expressive of horror. At that moment a 
troop of horsemen was passing down the 
street, and so sudden had been the poor 
half maniac's flight from the presence of 



The Zoramites. 



63 



i 



Corianton, that he threw himself in front 
of the horsemen, and before they could 
check their speed or change their course, 
he was knocked down and trampled up- 
on. 

A crowd quickly gathered around the 
bruised and bleeding form. His case 
was notorious in Antionum, and it was 
generally believed that his dumbness was 
brought upon him through sorcery; 
hence, even while he was shunned by the 
people, there were many who sympa- 
thized with him, so far, at least, as exe- 
crating those who had been the means, 
as they thought, of bringing the 
evil upon him. Corianton ran to 
the man and raised him to a sit- 
ting posture, but he never regained 
consciousness; a few painful gasps, and 
the body sank back into the arms of the 
young man, limp and lifeless. One of 
the guards of the city came up to the 
crowd, and, recognizing the body as that 
of the dumb, hnlf-crazed beggar, he took 
charge of it, and finally interred it. 

As Corianton walked away with the 



64 



Corianton. 



mangled form of the once bold anti- 
Christ vividly pictured in his mind, he 
muttered half aloud — "This is one of the 
judgments of God — cruel, infinitely 
cruel ! He above all others could have 
been generous and have pardoned him 
before his justice," and he fairly hissed 
the word, "had turned to cruelty !" 

By this time he had reached his lodg- 
ings, one of the finest palaces in all that 
city, and strange enough, it was the home 
of one of the chief Zoramites who had 
been especially pleased, or at least 
feigned to be especially pleased, with 
Corianton, and had invited him to make 
his house his home. At the entrance to 
the walk leading up to the house, he was 
met by a woman, who asked if he was 
one of the Nephite prophets that had 
come to preach the doctrines of the 
Nephites to the Zoramites. Corianton 
answered that he was of that party. 
"And is your name Corianton?" 
"Yes, that is my name." 
"Then at last I have found you!" 



CHAPTER SEVEN. 

JOAN. 

Was the woman who accosted Cori- 
anton at the gate of his lodging, young, 
beautiful? He could not tell; the twi- 
light had deepened too much into the 
shadow of night, to permit him to see 
clearly; but there was a fascination in 
the full, sweet tones of her voice, and he 
was thrilled by the touch of her soft 
hand, as she laid it gently on his arm, 
as if to detain him while asking the 
questions with which the last chapter 
closed. 

"You are going to Seantum's?" 

"Yes, that is where I lodge." 

"I will go with you." 

He hesitated, and was not a little 
astonished at her perfect self-possession, 
which, to his thinking, bordered on 
boldness. It must be remembered that 
among the Nephites, one of the chief 
characteristics of their women, so far as 
one is able to judge from their annals, 
65 



66 



Corianton. 



was modesty — an excellent thing in 
woman, when not feigned or prudish. 
The freedom, therefore, with which this 
woman had accosted him, a perfect 
stranger, and now proposed to go with 
him, uninvited, to the place where he 
lodged, was a boldness to which Cori- 
anton was unaccustomed. She observed 
that he hesitated, and broke out into a 
light, silvery laugh. 

"Ah, I forgot," she said, in an apolo- 
gizing tone, yet with a touch of mockery 
in it, "thou art one of the prophets, 
perhaps a solemn one, and unacquainted 
with our people, and my manners are 
too bold. But Seantum, with whom you 
lodge, is a near kinsman — my father's 
brother; now, will you throw open the 
gate, and allow me to go in with you?" 

He complied with her request mechan- 
ically, and in silence, for he knew not 
what to say. As they approached the 
house he again felt that soft hand laid 
gently on his arm, and the same sweet 
voice said, almost pleadingly: "Let us 
not go into the house yet, the evening 



Joan. 67 

is beautiful ; see, the moon is just peep- 
ing over the tree tops, and floods the 
earth with her soft light — let us walk in 
the garden." She had retained her hold 
upon his arm, and obeying her will 
rather than his own, he turned down a 
path leading away from the house. 

The house of Seantum was situated at 
the southern outskirts of the city, in the 
midst of a spacious and splendid garden. 
There were extensive lawns, studded 
with tropical trees, several species of 
palms and plantain; the cocoa . trees 
standing in groups, their great tufts of 
gigantic leaves r)itSi\mg in the moonlight 
at the height of sixty and seventy feet; 
banana and papaw trees growing side by 
side in rows along the walks, and back of 
them in irregular order stood pome- 
granates, while here and there were 
clumps of lindens, interspersed with sum- 
ach and cashew, and a great variety of 
evergreen shrubbery. Here side by side, 
and in fine contrast, were rhododendrons, 
with their rose-colored flowers, and the 



68 



Corianton. 



i' ': 



coffee shrub with its clusters of delicate 
white blossoms. Other flowers and flow- 
ering trees there were in great profusion 
— the fragrant eglantine, the elegant, airy 
though thorny acacia, and now and then 
an aloe plant, and, ah, rare sight ! several 
of them were in full bloom ; these, with 
splendid magnolias, mingled their odors ; 
and burdened the air with ambrosial 
fragrance, which, with the chirrup and 
hum of insect life, the gentle whisper- 
ing wind, stealing softly through shrub- 
bery and tree, and all kissed to beauty 
by the glorious moonlight, made up a 
night such as lovers love, and love's 
young dream expands. 

"You are not at all curious," said 
Corianton's new-found companion. "You 
have not yet asked my name, nor 
why I am here, nor what it is I want 
with you — you have not spoken half a 
dozen words since we met — you smile, 
do you mean by that I have not given 
you a chance to say more?" 

"Such were my thoughts, lady, but I 



Joan. 69 

would know your name, and am most 
curious to know what you would with 
me. 

By this they had reached a lakelet at 
the lower end of the garden, from whose 
moist beach grew several gigantic mango 
and sycamore trees. They had passed 
in the shadow of one of the lat- 
ter whose inclining trunk extended 
far out over the water-lily bedecked 
lake. Half seating herself on the 
inclined tree, she raised her hand 
to clutch a grape vine that drooped 
from a branch above, and as she 
did so the ample folds of her sleeve 
slipped back and left uncovered a beau- 
tiful white arm. And now Corianton 
noticed for the first time that the form 
was supple and finely proportioned. 
Her head, too. had been covered with a 
kind of mantilla which had also partly 
shrouded her face; this fell back now, 
revealing a face of uncommon loveliness, 
and a profusion of brown hair. 

"You must know then, sir prophet," 
she said with a light air, "that I am Joan, 



70 



Corianton. 



from Siron; my father is a Nephite by 
birth, but when young met with my 
mother, taken captive during a war with 
your people. He fell in love with the 
captive, married her and she induced 
him to go with her to her people. They 
settled in Siron where they lived hap- 
pily until my mother died. My father 
still lives, and has never been entirely 
rid of the traditions of the Nephites, and 
hearing that a party of Nephite prophets 
were preaching in Antionum, it was his 
wish that I should come to our kinsman 
Seantum, find you, and ask that you 
would also preach in Siron." 

•'But why did you come to me? I do 
not lead our party, I am youngest in it." 
"Ah, sir prophet, you are more famous 
than you know. It was Corianton that 
we first heard of in Siron ; it is he whose 
eloquence most baffles the Zoramites, 
and threatens the disruption of their 
church — believe me, sir, I was charged 
by my father to bid you come." 

Oh, flattery ! what man is proof against 
thy sweet, seducing charms! And how 



Joan. 71 

thoee charms are heightened, when 
flattery falls from beauty's lips ! The 
vanity of Corianton was well pleased 
with the words of the woman ; pride 
swelled his bosom, and he felt exalted 
above his brethren. 

"For two days I have sought you" 
(Corianton had been absent two days 
from his lodgings), "now I have found 
you and delivered my message, will you 
go to Siron ?" 

"I cannot say, lady, I must first confer 
with my brethren, and if by them it is 
thought best, I—" 

"What ! are you not free to come and 
go where and when you like. Are you in 
bondage ?" 

"No, lady, not in bondage, yet it is 
mete I counsel with my associates, and 
if—" 

"And 'if they give you leave, why then 
you'll go ! Ah me, that is such liberty as 
a maiden has under her father's control. 
I've often wished myself a man, that I 
might have a more extended liberty, but 
if men cannot act independent of con- 






hi 



72 



Corianton. 



trol, it pleases me that I am a woman. I 
fear, Sir prophet, that I shall never be a 
convert to your faith." 

"Then I would esteem my success in 
Siron of little value though I gained the 
whole people, if T failed to number one 
so fair among those who followed me." 

"Come, sir, let us now go in; you begin 
to find your tongue, and even a prophet, 
I see, can flatter." 

So saying she drew her mantle over 
her head, and they walked in silence to- 
wards the house. 

Corianton, as he walked away, did not 
observe shadowy forms glide from under 
adjacent trees, hold a brief consultation 
and depart from the spot which he him- 
self had ju.st quitted. 



CHAPTER EIGHT. 

THE REVEL. 

As Corianton and Joan approached the 
house, lively strains of music floated out 
upon the evening air, and lights gleamed 
trom all the windows; now sounds of 
revelry could be heard — the merry laugh, 
and flying feet. In the hall they were met 
by Seantum. "Returned home at last, 
Corianton,. eh ?" he said with blustering 
familiarity, "what, and with Joan, too !" 

"Yes, kinsman ; I found our prophet as 
he was entering the grounds, and have 
detained him long enough to deliver my 
message." 

"Quite right, too, quite right ; if you 
have anything to do, do it, and do it at 
once, say I. But come, sir, some young 
people have gathered here, to make mer- 
ry the night, recreation will do you good, 
sir; youth was made for enjoyment, sir, 
and youth cheats itself if it make not 
good use of its time." 

73 



74 



Corianton. 



"Oh, kinsman, you forget !" said Joan. 
"This man, though he hath not a gray 
beard, or a stooped back — and though he 
hath no staff, yet is he a holy man ! and 
will account the youthful revels you 
commend, as sinful. Alas," said she, 
with charming mock solemnity, — "alas, 
that youth should so soon wed itself to 
the vocation of the aged ! Besides, I 
warrant me, he will tell thee he must 
first counsel with his fellow-prophets, 
before he can stir in what you would 
have him enjoy. So pray forbear, tempt 
not the holy prophet !" And with this 
tantalizing witchery she left him. 

Seantum laughed heartily at the evi- 
dent discomfiture of Corianton. "By 
my life, sir, she hath hit you as hard 
with her sarcasm of your solemnities, as 
your ridicule hits the weakness of our 
Zoramite faith ; but come, sir, come, you 
must rally, you must let her see that you 
have spirit — which I know you have — 
go in, sir," lowering his voice, "it shall 
not harm your reputation; go in, you 



The Revel. 75 

shall find beauty, gaiety, pleasure and 
secrecy beneath my roof — go in, sir; 
youth was made for pleasure!" 

His pride, wounded by the light sar- 
casm of Joan, and, influenced, it must 
also be confesed, by the cajolery of 
Seantum, Corianton permitted himself 
to be led down the hall into a spacious 
saloon, brilliantly lighted by cressets, 
and at one end of which, on a platform , 
was arranged a banqueting table, ladened 
profusely with all the delicacies of the 
tropics — a rich variety of meats, fruits 
and wines, of which all were free to par- 
take at pleasure. The ceiling and wall 
of the saloon were frescoed with volup- 
tuous figures or grim monsters, half 
animal, half human — with here and there 
indications that some knowledge of the 
old mythologies was still retained; the 
windows were draped with curtains of 
rich stuffs, variously colored ; their ample 
folds gently stirred by the soft bree;^e 
which stole into the room, filling it with 
the rich perfumes of the garden. The 
floor was variegated Mosaic work,smooth 



76 



Corianton. 



as polished ivory, covered at the sides 
and ends by soft carpeting. 

As Corianton and Seantum entered 
the saloon, a pretty dark-eyed girl v^as 
executing a sort of fandango to the evi- 
dent delight of a number of young men 
sitting or lounging promiscuously about 
the room At the conclusion of the 
dance the girl was greeted warmly with 
a round of applause. Then there was 
quiet, broken occasionally by light rip- 
ples of laughter, the hum of confused 
conversation, or occasional commands 
to the slaves to serve fruits or wines. 
There were whispered nothings, tender 
caresses, and loose jests. Groups of 
women of all degrees of beauty were 
reclining on divans or cushions, half 
concealed by the rich foliage of gigantic 
plants in great vases; and sometimes in 
recesses nearly shut out from the main 
body of the saloon by closely drawn 
curtains. 

The entrance of Seantum and Corian- 
ton had attracted no attention; but as 
the tall, graceful Nephite passed the 



The Revel. 



77 



various groups, the girls broke out in 
exclamations of admiration — "how 
handsome!" "how young!" "what fine 
eyes! — and what a form!" "who is he?" 
"a stranger — a Nephite." All this agi- 
tated Corianton, and rendered him un- 
easy. Arriving at the head of the saloon, 
he was introduced to a group of young 
men about his own age. 

"This is my Nephite prophet of whom 
you have heard me speak," said 
Seantum, "receive him as my honored 
guest and friend." At this Corianton 
was warmly saluted, and called upon to 
pledge the acquaintance in wine. There 
was no retreating now, nor could there 
be any refusal. 

"Though our new friend is a Nephite," 
said Seantum, after the pledge of friend- 
ship had been drunk, "and reared under 
traditions which we have forsaken, 
religious differences, arising solely from 
training in childhood, should make no 
difference in social life." "No, no," 
broke in several voices. "Let us bury 
thoughts of all such differences in an- 



78 



Corianton. 



other bowl of wine," said a youth of La- 
manitish appearance, and already under 
the influence of the beverage he now 
called for. 

At that moment in the lower part of 
the saloon some one was greeted by 
hearty applause; looking in that direc- 
tion Joan was seen advancing clad in 
loose, fleecy garments; she held in her 
hand a long strip of crimson gauze, and 
as she reached the middle of the saloon 
she shook out its folds and began a 
dance of exquisite grace. 

What mischief hath not been worked 
by the witching grace exhibited by beau- 
tiful women in the dance ! The elegance 
and harmony of motion, the poetry of 
movement, gives a lustre to beauty and 
influences the senses through the imag- 
ination. 'Twas the dancing of the fair 
daughter of Tared which drove Akish of 
old to pledge himslf to murder King 
Omer among the Jaredites; and men 
hereafter shall promise with an oath 
anything to the half of a kingdom, to 
some fair one for dancing before them. 



( 



The Revel. 70 

Never had Corianton seen such a com- 
bination of motion and beauty as that 
now before him. The slight willowy 
form of Joan swaying with easy grace, 
the poise of the head, the movement of 
the arms, all in perfect harmony with 
the rest of her actions. Freqently the 
company applauded her, but now evi- 
dently the dance is drawing to a close, 
concluding with rapid whirling round 
the entire saloon. As she passed near 
Corianton she suddenly threw her gauze 
scarf over his head, as a challenge for 
him to join her in the finale; and he, 
forgetful of all but her loveliness and 
bewitching grace, caught her hand, hold- 
ing the tips of her fingers, and accom- 
panied her in that whirling circuit. He 
had evidently acquitted himself well, for 
he shared in the applause which greeted 
her, and the compliments that followed. 

"Ah, my friend, I scarcely thought a 
prophet could do so well," she whispered, 
in her taunting manner; but seeing that 
he turned pale at her remark, and that a 
pained expression also passed over his 



8o 



Corianton. 



features, she quickly added "you did 
■well, I am proud of you, and you must 
be my companion for the night;"' and 
her hand once more stole within his arm. 
The revels were continued through 
the night, wine flowed as freely as water, 
and long before the gray dawn began to 
break in the east, many had sunk down 
in a helpless, drunken sleep. Corianton 
also was intoxicated, but not so much 
with wine as with the beauty and chic of 
Joan. When she left him, as she did soon 
after midnight, he began to realize the 
situation into which his half thoughtless 
indiscretion had plunged him, and he 
knew not how he would well answer his 
brethren for his conduct. Though he 
had drunk but little wine, not being 
accustomed to it his brain was on fire , 
and a mad spirit of recklessness seized 
him. Passing a group of young fellows 
in an advanced stage of intoxication in 
one of the recesses of the saloon, he was 
hailed by them, and congratulated upon 
his conquest of the fairest lady in all 
their land. He joined them in their 



The Revel. 



8i 



praises of her beauty and in their revel. 
What he did, what was done he knew 
not, his brain was confused — he had an 
indistinct recollection of boisterous, fren- 
zied jollity, then high words, a quarrel, 
but not the reason of it, and then all 
was darkness, oblivion. 



CHAPTER NINE. 

ISABEL. 

As the grey light of morning strug- 
gled through the heavy curtained win- 
dows of the saloon, Corianton awoke. 
For some time he lay half bewildered, 
unable to call to mind what had hap- 
pened, or where he was, conscious only 
of the heavy, dull pain in his head. At 
last, however, the revels of the past night 
were conjured up by his recollection ; but 
awakening consciousness brought with it 
a sickening sense of shame. He was 
lying on a cushioned divan in one of the 
many recesses opening into the saloon, 
and near him in a heavy stupor, on the 
floor, was a young Lamanite girl. He 
arose and staggered from the recess to 
seek the open air. In the saloon the 
lights in the cressets were burning low, 
but giving out sufficient of their pale, 
yellow light to reveal the general disor- 
der that prevailed. Fruits, drinking 
bowls, withered flowers and ottomans lay 
82 



Isabel. 



83 



scattered about promiscuously. The ban- 
quet table itself with its burden of fruits 
and wines and silver furniture, had been 
overturned, doubtless in the melee which 
followed the quarrel, of which Corianton 
had but an indistinct recollection. Near 
the door leading into the hall were two 
slaves sleeping in each other's arms — 
worn out by the services of the past 
night. 

Corianton wended his way through all 
this debris and at last reached the 
garden ; but neither the cool morning 
air, the song of birds nor the perfume of 
flowers brought relief to his aching heart 
or troubled mind. 

He followed the same path down 
which Joan had led him the night before 
to the margin of the lake, and stood 
under the same trees where her loveli- 
ness first attracted his attention. Again 
he saw her half reclining against the tree, 
once more heard her sweet voice derid- 
ing his faith and mocking at the bondage 
it brought with it— "What, are you not 
free ? Are you in bondage ? she had said ; 



84 



Corianton. 



and the humiliation he had experienced 
by the taunting question still hurt his 
pride. He sought a bower near at hand, 
and stretching himself upon a seat be- 
neath it, was soon lost in a fitful slumber. 

He was suddenly awakened by some 
one in a subdued but hurried tone calling 
his name. Shaking off his sleep at last. 
he was surprised and not a little troubled 
at seeing his brother Shiblon standing 
over him. 

"Wake, brother, wake and leave this 
horrible place !" The speaker was pale 
and evidently much excited. "Come 
brother, in the name of God shake off 
this slumber, and come with me before 
it is too late!" 

"Why Shiblon, what's amiss ?" 

"Alas, I fear thou art amiss; and your 
bad deeds are like to bring trouble to us 
all. Your association with harlots in 
this place is the talk of the whole city, 
and everywhere we are threatened with 
violence — we can no longer preach to 
the people since they judge us all by 
your conduct, and condemn us all as 



Isabel. 



8s 



hypocrites and bid us be gone. The 
other brethren have started to leave the 
citv, but I came in search of you; now 
brother, come — in God's name come! 
Come, let us leave together; by a peni- 
tent life you may yet cancel this great sin 
— you are young — not yet hardened in 
vice; I pray you, come!" 

Corianton stood before his brother 
bewildered ; to him his speech was inco- 
herent—wild. "Shiblon," said he, "I 
have not associated with harlots, and 
though the revels of last night were 
indiscreet, I am free from such sin as you 
impute to me." 

"God grant that you are, and far be it 
from me to believe that you add the sin 
of falsehood to a grosser sin ; but brother, 
the house of Seantum where you have 
lodged, is the worst den of infamy in all 
Antionum, and only last night you were 
seen in loving converse on the shores of 
this very lake with the harlot Isabel." 

"Isabel !" echoed Corianton, "I know 
and have seen no such woman. I walked 
through the grounds here last evening 



86 



Corianton. 



with Joan, niece of Seantum, and though 
of sprightly disposition yet modest, and 
I believe as virtuous as she is fair." 

"Oh, Corianton, in this you are coz- 
ened. That woman is not Joan, nor is 
she Seantum's niece; but a wicked harlot 
from Siron whose body to the chief men 
of this city has been as common as their 
wills have desired it ; you have fallen into 
the trap laid by the Zoramites to destroy 
the mission in this city. Seantum is one 
of the leaders of the Zoramites, he it 
was who sent for this cunning harlot to 
work your ruin, and in that hoped for the 
destruction of our mission; and he has 
succeeded, alas! too well. They have 
deceived you; and as the devil appears 
as an angel of light, so this woman 
assumes a virtue that she possesses not, 
and by that seeming grace wins you to 
}0ur destruction. But break this chain, 
and let us flee." 

Before Corianton could reply there 
was heard a hurrying of feet and they 
were surrounded by a body of men. 

"Take that man," said Seantum, point- 



Isabel. 



87 



ing to Shiblon, "and bind him." The " 
young man saw at a glance that neither 
flight nor resistance would avail any- 
thing, and he submitted without an 
effort at either. 

"Corianton," said Seantum, "I over- 
heard the ungracious words of your 
brother against my house and my kins- 
woman, and I insist upon a vindication 
of both before the magistrates of this 
city; hence I have taken him, but I mean 
him no further mischief; and does not 
justice to my great reputation and to my 
household dictate the taking of this 
course?" 

"Though the sentence fall upon my 
brother, I must say your cause is just ; let 
him answer it before your judges, and let 
this experience teach him discretion." 

"Corianton," said Shiblon, "I com- 
plain not at my captivity, incurred by 
an anxiety for your good; nor shall I 
shrink before the judges however un- 
just or merciless they may be. But take 
my advice, if you are still free from the 
sin that reputation sticks on you, lose 



88 



Corianton. 



no time in leaving this man's accursed 
house; trust not his friendship, for it is 
poison ; beheve not in the pretensions of 
the harlot Isabel, Joan she is not, she is 
one whose feet go down to death, whose 
steps take hold on hell !" 

"Away with him, and stop his slander- 
ous mouth !" cried Corianton, white with 
rage. One of those who held him, struck 
Sbiblon a blow in the face. 

"Noble Seantum," continued Corian- 
ton, "see that yourself and your fair niece 
be cleared of those slanders, and tell her 
that there is one Nephite at least who 
can rise above the prejudices of a nar- 
row faith and not impute lewdness to 
mirthfulness, nor wantonness to innocent 
gaiety." 

"Be assured, sir," replied the one 
addressed, "I shall not fail to report you 
truly to the fair Joan ; and you shall not 
suffer in her estimation by reason of 
your brother's slander." 

"Brother, you are now blinded by 
your infatuation and anger," said Sbib- 
lon, whose spirit neither blows nor pros 



Isabel. 



89 



pective harsher treatment could daunt, 
"but the time will come, when the scales 
will fall, and you will see the black 
'vickedness of those who have entrapped 
your unwary feet; farewell, and what- 
ever fate overtakes me, remember I suf- 
fer it out of love of you." 

He was then dragged away in the di- 
rection of the house, followed by Sean- 
tum. 



CHAPTER TEN. 

TAUNTS OF THE CROWD. 

Left alone to battle with the contend- 
ing emotions that struggled in his breast, 
and his anger having subsided, Corian- 
ton began to be plagued with rising ap- 
prehensions. What if Shiblon were right? 
What if he had been duped by the crafty 
Zoramites? Many things that passed un- 
der his observation in the banqueting 
saloon the night before now arose to give 
support to his increasing fears. "Yet, 
I'll not believe it, until proven true, then 
it she be indeed a harlot, and hath be- 
trayed me into this compromising posi- 
tion, may God pity her, for she hath need 
of pity !" 

With these words he left the garden 
and started in the direction of the mar- 
ket place of the city. 

He observed as he walked along that 

many people looked curiously at him, and 

turned to follow him with their gaze. 

As he turned into one of the principal 

90 



Taunts of the Crowd. 



91 



streets he heard a tumult, and saw an 
excited crowd of people rapidly gathering 
about two men who were evidently 
making efforts to extricate themselves 
from the throng. They were coming in 
his direction, and stepping aside into a 
narrow alleyway, he thought to let the 
throng pass without being observed. 
As the crowd drew near, to his astonish- 
ment, he saw the two men were his 
father and Ammon. The mob at their 
heels, however, was evidently, as yet, 
good natured, and were merely mocking 
them. Some who occasionally ran in 
front of them would shout at the specta- 
tors gathered at the sides of the streets — 

"Behold the Nephite prophet, who 
comes to teach us 'holiness' while his son 
makes merry the night with harlots!" 

"Teach your own son virtue before 
you leave your cities to convert the 
Zoramites," cried another. 

"The son's no worse than the father 
I'll warrant," shouted a third. 

"Nor so bad either," broke in several. 

"Say old greybeard," said a voice from 



92 



Corianton. 



the crowd, "which of you holy men is 
contracted to Isabel to-night?" and the 
insinuation was followed by shouts of 
laughter. 

So the crowd passed on, yelling, curs- 
ing, mocking, deriding, pushing; the 
spirit of violence constantly increasing. 
The two prophets answered nothing, but 
bore all meekly; the only sign of emotion 
being the tears that silently flowed down 
the furrowed cheeks of Alma at the 
taunts thrown at him respecting his son ; 
indeed he seemed weighed down with 
grief, and would have been trampled un- 
der foot but for the support of his strong 
companion, who bore him up, and kept 
back those who would have used violence 
had they dared. 

The crowd passed and their shouts 
rose faintly above the busy hum of life 
in the city, and then at last died away 
altogether. 

Corianton had remained in the alley- 
way from which he had seen and heard 
what is described above; there he stood 
trembling from head to foot in an agony 



Taunts of the Crowd. 93 

of shame and terror. At last he walked 
away, and rather from instinct than 
design he retraced his footsteps in the 
direction of Seantum's. 



i 



CHAPTER ELEVEN. 

FACE TO FACE. 

As he walked along Corianton in- 
creased his speed; passion rocked his 
frame, and a deep design for revenge 
filled his heart. He passed down the 
path with rapid strides and entered the 
hall of Seantum's dwelling. Here he 
met a maid who had attended on Joan — 
Isabel, — and in whose company he had 
left her the night before. 

"Where is your mistress, maid?" he 
demanded in no gentle tones. 

"She is yet in her room, sir prophet," 
said the maid, trembling with fear. 

"And where is that room ?" 

"The first door to the left opens to a 
passage leading to it ; shall I say to my 
mistress you would see her?" 

"No," he replied in tones husky with 
anger. "I will see her unannounced. 
Small need to stand on ceremony with 
such as she." 

And with a few rapid strides he 

94 



Face to Face. 



95 



reached the door indicated, and entered 
the passage leading to the splendid 
rooms set apart for the use of Isabel. 

He threw aside the heavy curtain 
drawn across the passage and stood 
in the presence of the woman bent on 
his destruction. She was seated on a 
low ottoman with a silver mirror in her 
hand and a slave was just putting the 
finishing touches to her toilet. She 
hastily arose as Corianton entered, and 
intense anger flashed in her dark eyes. 

"Methinks this entrance is somewhat 
rude, bold Nephite. At least I should 
have thought a 'prophet' would have had 
respect for a maiden's privacy." 

"Aye, no doubt he would. All men 
would respect a maiden's privacy; the 
most licentious wretch would tremble 
did he invade its hallowed precinct. But 
who respects the privacy of a common- 
er? Who pauses on the threshold of a 
strumpet ?" 

"Commoner? Strumpet?" echoed Isa- 
bel, choking with rage, "what mean 
you?" 



96 



Corianton. 



"Mean? mean?" he cried, "I mean 
that the mask behind which you 
would hide as Joan is snatched away. 
I mean that you are a base harlot; that 
that fair face is besmirked with loath- 
some filth, that the sweet tones of your 
voice, the arch smile, that angel form, 
are but the blandishments of hell to 
decoy men to ruin. I mean that you with 
your paramours conspired to work my 
undoing; and I, fool-like, must walk in 
midday light into your traps." 

He had approached her at this climax 
of his passion and seized her by the 
throat ! With a shriek she sank upon her 
knees before him in terror. Finding her 
helpless in his grasp, he recovered his 
self-control sufficiently to loose his hold. 

"No. no, I will not kill you — I meant 
not to harm you — pardon me. O, my 
God ! why, oh why, is this woman so 
foul and yet so fair that heated rage is 
cooled, madness subdued to gentleness, 
and man's purposed revenge weeps 
itself to softness in woman's tears ?'' 
Coverincr his face with his hands he sank 



Face to Face. 



97 



into a settee overpowered by the emo- 
tions which shook his frame. 

By this time Isabel had recovered from 
the terror into which Corianton's sud- 
den rage had thrown her; and deeply 
read in man's moods and passions, she 
saw what an influence she held over the 
one now before her. Stealing softly to 
his side, and placing her hand on his 
shoulder she gently said: 

"Corianton, have you done well in thus 
proceeding ? What have I done to merit 
such harsh treatment — such bitter words 
— how deserved it?" 

"What have you done?" he cried — 
"you came to me with a lie on your lips , 
deceit in your heart, and under the 
guise of innocence, purity and goodness 
sought to encompass my ruin ! — Well 
madame, your plans have carried — I am 
undone — ruined ! I can never return to 
my people, to them I am infamous — an 
outcast !" And again his form was con- 
vulsed in an agony of grief. 

"But may there not be some exten- 
uating circumstances to free me from 

9 



98 Corianton. 

the harsh judgment you passed upon 
me? Trained from my childhood t3 
hate your people, and taught that ali 
means were proper that would lead to 
their destruction, the helpless instrument 
of unscrupulous men bent on defeating 
your mission to the Zoramites — is it any 
wonder that I undertook the part as- 
signed me in the scheme? But Corian- 
ton," and she sank on her knees at his 
feet, "the moment I saw you — so noble 
in bearing — so young — my heart relent- 
ed ; I shrank from the performance of 
the wicked plot — but what was I to do? 
Had I told you the truth — that I was 
Isabel — the infamy of that name would 
have steeled your heart against me — you 
would have driven me from you as an 
unclean thing; and your presence — the 
nobility which looked from your eyes, 
inspired me with love such as I have 
never known before — I experienced a 
longing for something better than I had 
known — a desire for purity, goodness, 
virtue, that I might be worthy of you; 
p.r^d even wicked and unclean as I am, 



Face to Face. 



99 



hope whispered high promises to my wo- 
man's heart — 'love will forgive and for- 
get the past; it lives only in the present 
and for the future,' it said; but alas! it 
was a vain hope — I awake and find it 
dust! Oh, why is there so much differ- 
ence between man and woman ! No 
matter what the past of a man may hav- 
been, he hath but to repent, and all is 
forgiven — and, forgotten. But when a 
woman falls, 'tis never more to rise or 
be forgiven." 

These indirect appeals to him touched 
the gentler nature of Corianton, and 
bending over her as he took her hand, 
he said: "Nay, do not weep; if I have 
fallen I alone am to blame, I should 
have had better discretion. I am ro 
coward to lay the blame upon another. 
I alone am to blame and I will alone 
bear the burden of God's displeasure." 

"Corianton," cried Isabel as a sudden 
idea seized her, "if you are an outcast; 
come to me, go with me to Siron; we 
are both young, we may live for each 
other, and life may yield us much of 



lOO 



Corianton. 



happiness — I will be true to you, work 
for you, nay, my proud spirit is con- 
quered by my love, I will even be you. 
slave; let us unite our shattered fortune?: 
all may yet be well." 

Oh youth, how elastic is thy texture! 
Oppressed with the heaviest grief, bowed 
down into the dust by ruin, thy buoyancy 
will up-raise the soul — hope dwells per- 
ennially in thy breast ! The proposition 
of Isabel revived the sinking spirits of 
Corianton, and under the influence of 
her hopeful words his life yet seemed to 
promise something worth living for. 

"If you have become an outcast from 
your people," she continued, "and that 
through me, I will become an outcast 
from those who knew me here, I will 
forsake my friends for you; and then, 
hand in hand, we will seek our new and 
better fortune. But men are change- 
ful in their love," she added, "and when 
time or care steals beauty from oi-r 
checks, your eyes will wander — swear to 
be true to me, Corianton." 

Her arms stole gently about his neck 



I 



Face to Face. loi 

and she looked pleadingly into his eyes. 
All his love for this woman now seemed 
to go out to her, and warmly returning 
her tender embrace he said : 

"Do not fear the vanishing of my love, 
Isabel, for I do love thee with my whole 
heart, better than my country, my people 
or my God — the last I am estranged 
from, and henceforth thou shalt be my 
idol," and he lovingly kissed her lips. 

That night they left for Siron, and 
reached their destination. 

The following day when it becime 
known that Corianton had gone to Siron 
with Isabel, the excitement in Antionum 
greatly increased. Shiblon the day be- 
fore had been released from his bondage 
and was stoned by the people in the 
streets, led on by some of the servants 
of Seantum. He escaped them, however, 
and joined his father and brethren, and 
told them of the blind infatuation of 
Corianton. 

It was decided that it would be useless 
to attempt to preach longer to the peo- 
ple of Antionum, and that evening the 



i 



102 



Corianton. 



i 



brethren of the mission departed for the 
land of Jershon, their spirits bowed down 
with grief at the hardness of th^ hearts of 
the Zoramites ; but sorrowing most of all 
for the wickedness of Corianton and the 
disgrace he had brought upon the work. 
Zoram and his associates, chief among 
whom was Seantum, were not satisfied 
with the departure of the Nephite 
prophets; but formed the resolution of 
driving from their midst those who had 
believed in their words. Hence they 
sent among the people secretly to find 
out those who believed in the words 
which Alma and his companions had 
taught ; and learned the sentiments of 
those who disbelieved their teachings. 
The reports justified them in concluding 
they could drive the former out of their 
land with impunity. The effort was suc- 
cessful ; and the outcasts fled to Jershon 
where the people of Ammon received 
them with gladness, and provided for 
their immediate wants. 



CHAPTER TWELVE. 

THE LOVE OF A WANTON. 

The home of Isabel, in Siron, war 
nearly as magnificent as that of Sean- 
tum in Antionum. All that wealth could 
do to satisfy the caprice and extrava- 
gant tastes of woman, had evidently been 
lavished upon Isabel by her lovers. For 
two days after the arrival from Antionum 
she had been all that could be desired by 
Corianton — loving, gentle, and at times 
sprightly. But the morning of the third 
day when he suggested leaving her es- 
tablishment, whose luxury constantly re- 
minded him of her former life and 
shame, she manifested some petulance, 
and replied — 

"You knew who and what I was before 
you came here, I take it unkindly that 
you upbraid me for the past." 

The fact was that during the night Zo- 
ram had arrived from Antionum and was 
filled with jealous rage. He feared the 
103 



i 



I04 



Corianton. 



% 



young and handsome Nephite had won 
the fancy of his mistress, and demanded 
that he should be gotten rid of. 

About midday Corianton entered the 
apartments of Isabel and urged again 
that she would consent to leave Siron 
and go to a land where she was not 
known and there begin their new life. 

"There is the door," she said coolly, 
"if you like not to stay, you may go." 

"Nay, Isabel, but you promised that 
you would forsake all this for me !" 

"And are you so simple as to believe 
a woman's words? I was blinded by my 
infatuation and half repentance, but the 
dream is past, I am myself again, and 
see we are not suited to each other; you 
had better return to your people, sir 
prophet, fall down at their feet, and seek 
their forgiveness." 

He stood amazed — twice deceived and 
by this woman — twice damned in shame 
for a thing scarce worth his pity ! 

"And is this the return for my great 
love for you?" he asked. 

"That for your love," and she threw a 



t 
i 



The Love of a Wanton. 105 

goblet of wine in his face. "I despise 
both you and your love." 

Several of the servants and Zoram en- 
tering the apartment at that moment, she 
threw herself into the arms of the latter, 
saying as she kissed him, "this is my love 
— my prince — my king of men ! Now 
go !" she cried, pointing to the door. 

"Not I," replied Corianton; "I will not 
budge until I have laid him dead at my 
feet who set on foot the plan that 
brought my shame !" And he sprang at 
Zoram with the fury of an enraged 
tiger. Before he could reach him, how- 
ever, he was overpowered by the servants 
and bound securely. Zoram had drawn 
his dagger, and would have killed the 
Nephite, but Isabel clung to him. 

"No, no, you shall not slay him, he is 
my prey, and 'tis for me to say what 
shall be his fate. Nephite," she said, 
"our friend Korihor went into your chiei 
city where, through sorcery, he was 
smitten dumb and fled from your land. 
He returned to us half crazed, and 
miserably perished. That, your people 



io6 



Corianton. 



said, was a judgment of God, — a mani- 
festation of his almighty power. Now 
live, return to your people to be the scorn 
and shame of the times, and let them 
know that your fall is a manifestation of 
Isabel's power — let it be Corianton for 
Korihor — Isabel against your God !" 
♦ * * 

"See that a number of servants go 
with him as guards and take him to the 
borders of the land Jershon," said Zor- 
am. "Come, move, slaves, away with 
him, and be not over-tender of him in 
your journey!" 

Two men were soon mounted, and 
Corianton, his hands bound behind bin., 
was compelled to run between them, each 
of his guards holding him by a thong 
fastened about his body. All that day 
and night, and part of the next day they 
continued their journey, with occasional 
rests for themselves and their horses. 
Reaching the borders of the land of 
Jershon before noon of the second day, 
they cruelly beat their prisoner and left 
him, directing their course for Siron. 



[ 
^ 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN. 

A BROTHER'S LOVK. 

Left more dead than alive by his hard 
journey and merciless beating, Corianton 
lay in a stupor for some time. Regaining 
consciousness he wandered, he knew not 
whither, but at last came to one of the 
chief towns of the people of Ammon ; 
where a large number of the outcast 
Zoramites had been given a resting 
place. In passing through the streets 
he was recognized by some of them, and 
the news of his return soon spread 
throughout the city. 

The people came running together to 
see him. Some looked on him with 
pity, others looked upon him as the 
author of all their distress and began 
clamoring for vengeance. The latter 
class was by far the more numerous, and 
the excitement was growing uncontrol- 
able. "Stone him, stone him!" was the 
cry. Corianton, hard pressed, threw 
107 



io8 



Corianton. 



i 



back his tattered robe, and addressing 
tiie crowd said — 

"Yes, good people, I am the cause of 
the affliction that has befallen you — let 
my life pay the penalty of my follies — I 
refuse not to die — to die would be relief." 

Those who heard these words, and 
saw the majesty of the speaker, fallen 
though he was, were awed into silence; 
but those on the outskirts of the ever- 
increasing crowd still clamored for his 
life, and even began to cast stones at 
him. These volleys soon caused those 
near him to draw back, and he stood 
alone. Shrouding his face in his mantle 
he sank to the ground prepared to meet 
the worst. 

At that moment a clear, strong voice 
rose above the tumult of the mob: "In 
the name of God, hold ! Stay your 
hands, men! Let him be accursed that 
casts another stone !" 

Shiblon, all breathless, pushed his 
way through that angry crowd to where 
his brother lay, half stunned and bleed- 



•^ 



A Brother's Love. 109 

ing. He threw aside the mantle and 
bent over the poor, bruised form. "Alas ! 
my brother, cast down and well nigh 
destroyed !" and the tears flowed down 
his cheeks and dropped upon the half un- 
conscious face of Corianton. Then the 
murmurs of the crowd, awed but for the; 
moment by Shiblon's appearance, rose 
into cries for vengeance. Quickly rising 
to his feet, Shiblon waved his hand for 
silence and thus addressed them : 

"You people from Antionum, listen 
to me. My father and the sons of Mo- 
siah, together with this my brother and 
myself, came into your midst to teach 
you the truth. Out of love for you my 
father, though bowed with age and un- 
remitting toil in the behalf of others, left 
the pleasures and comforts of his home, 
risked his life, and endured the scoffs 
of the proud Zoramites, that you might 
live, and live in the truth, and be free, 
and for this you would reward him by 
slaying his dearest son, who fell by the 
practice of a cunning harlot. I grant you 



no 



Corianton. 



; 



the sin was great; such as he are great, 
even in their sins ; and they are Hkewise 
great in their sufferings. 

"If his crime is worthy of death, has 
he not already suffered more than death? 
The burden of his great sin he must 
carry through Hfe — and could his worst 
enemy be gratified by casting one more 
stone at this poor, bleeding body, or be 
pleased by adding one more pang to his 
tortured mind? Oh, men! has pity, 
mercy, gratitude left your breasts; and 
does your mad frenzy make you brutish 
beasts? My brother's sin is more against 
himself and God than you, and it is for 
you to leave him to the justice and mercy 
of his God who hath said, 'Vengeance 
is mine, I will repay." 

The crowd slunk away, except those 
who remained to assist Shiblon in re- 
moving his brother to the home of Am- 
mon, who lived in the city. Here his 
wounds were dressed; and he was 
attended upon by Shiblon with all the 
devotion of a loving brother. 

His father forgave him, and took no 



t 



A Brother's Love. in 

small pains in teaching him, instilling 
into his soul faith in the great funda- 
mental truths of the Gospel. And Cori- 
anton's proud, haughty spirit now hum- 
bled to the dust, listened with prayerful 
attention to the instruction of his father, 
and found the faith of the Gospel the 
stay and hope of his soul, and no longer 
questioned, but lovingly trusted in the 
justice and mercy of God. 

May it not be that even this great sin 
was necessary to humble his pride, and 
prepare him to receive and sense the 
gospel, that by and through it he might 
be prepared to receive the highest degree 
of glory to which his nature could at- 
tain, and which he never could have at- 
tained with his pride unbroken? 

'T give unto men weakness," saith the 
Lord, "that they may be humble; and 
my grace is sufficient for all men that 
humble themselves before me." 



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